'I'm a Soldier Now': Denzel Washington Delivers Powerful Message About Freedom While Being Honored by US Army
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Actor Denzel Washington is adding yet another role to his ever-growing resume: Honorary Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA).
But this title has very little to do with acting and everything to do with Washington’s real-life support of the military.
Washington is only the second civilian to receive this honor — a title bestowed upon him for his work with the Fisher House Foundation, an organization that builds homes for military members’ and veterans’ families to stay in while a loved one is recovering from wounds.
Washington’s selection for the Honorary SMA was recently formally announced at the Annual Association of the U.S. Army conference, as Movieguide noted.
Congratulations to Mr. Denzel Washington on being named the Honorary Sergeant Major of the Army for his commitment and support to Soldiers and their families #PeopleFirst | #ArmyValues pic.twitter.com/wENqTI564s— U.S. Army (@USArmy) October 14, 2021
Task and Purpose has more about Washington’s involvement in this charity:
Ken Fisher, the chairman and CEO of the Fisher House Foundation, first met Washington about 20 years ago while the actor was visiting Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Washington “wrote a check on the spot” to the foundation to help build a home, Fisher said. He’s since become a board member of the foundation. “Nobody deserves this more than you do,” Fisher told Washington during the ceremony. “You have been an amazing friend to military families throughout your work with us.”
Aside from his work with the foundation, Washington was also recognized for an upcoming movie he’s directing about an Army first sergeant who was killed in Iraq in 2006.
That upcoming film, “A Journal for Jordan,” releases Christmas Day and is sure to inspire audiences with its familial message. Directed by Washington and starring actor Michael B. Jordan, the movie is about a “soldier deployed to Iraq who begins to keep a journal of love and advice for his infant son.”
Washington offered touching words during his acceptance ceremony, expressing thankfulness to the military and pledging to always be there to help soldiers.
“Today is the first day of the rest of my life; I’m a soldier now,” he said with a smile, going on to express gratitude for the U.S. Armed Forces. “I’ll continue to do the right thing for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. I’m here for you. Call me when you need me. We all are free because of the sacrifices you’ve made.”
Washington also said after his remarks that he hopes to continue honoring the Lord.
“I just pray that I continue to do God’s work as we all are doing,” he said.
The Honorary SMA title is given to a person who has delivered remarkable help and assistance to military members.
“The Honorary SMA was conceived as a way to, once a year, recognize a person who has demonstrated extraordinary dedication and a life-long commitment to serving soldiers, NCOs, officers, and their families,” Master Sgt. Tyrone Marshall said in 2018. “The SMA consults with former SMAs and current Army leadership to make the determination as to who will be honored.”
Washington is the second non-veteran to receive the honor, following Elaine Rogers, who became an Honorary SMA in 2018, due to her own impressive work with military members and veterans.
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